arrowroot (maranta arundinacea)

Arrowroot is another fantastic ‘survival’ food, containing starch and protein

You can grow arrowroot in your garden with the minimum of effort

The tubers can be planted in the spring summer or early autumn in rich soil for the best results

They can reach five to six foot in height and from one or two tubers you can produce quiet a yield for your own use

They also can be grown as a wind break if the rhizomes are planted 30cm apart

Plants will die down in the cooler months to return again in the spring

The young tubers can be harvested as required and eaten either cooked or raw

I prefer them cooked by either baking them whole in the oven or they can be sliced thinly sprayed with a little olive oil and then baked to make arrowroot chips

Chop and add to casseroles and stews

They will take on the flavour of the foods that you cook them with.

The starch can be extracted from the rhizomes (preferably under year old) dried and then use as flour

It is an easily digested food making it suitable to those recovering from illness and for young children

Traditionally, arrowroot has been used to treat digestive disorders such as vomiting and bowel complaints

Add one heaped teaspoon of the flour to 600mls of water or milk

Make into a paste first and then add the remaining liquid which has been heated

It can be flavored with lemon and/or honey

When made thicker it can be given to children as porridge

Fruit or honey may be added

A poultice can be made from crushed rhizomes and applied to insect bites and wounds

The leaves can be also used as mulch and both the leaves and rhizomes can be fed to chickens especially when greens are scarce

Enjoy it as an interesting and nutritious addition to your ‘bought’ food and know that to some degree you are being self sufficient